Archive for April, 2012

Draft Profile: Jared Sullinger

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Well, the seasons over.  Time to watch other squads square-off in the NBA playoffs while waiting for the lottery, draft day, and eventually, free agency.  Or if you’re more ambitious than that, you can find a hobby; it’s nice outside this time of year.  I  have allergies though, so I will spend my off-season profiling players whom will go 90% undrafted by the Cavs. 

With a 95% chance at a top five pick, Jared Sullinger probably won’t be on Cleveland’s radar.  I wrote a draft profile anyways, because what’s a series like this, on Cavs:the Blog, without discussing the draft’s highest profile Ohioan.

Sullinger shoots a hook shot against Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship (Jonathan Daniel - Getty Images)

Sullinger just completed his sophomore year, turning 20 in March, and leading Ohio State to the NCAA tournament’s Final Four.  He averaged 17 points and 9 rebounds on 59% true shooting in 30 minutes per game.  At 6’9” and 270 lbs, he possesses impressive strength and sports a wingspan of over 7 feet.  Utilizing his wide frame, he can establish deep post position, where he displays an array of post moves.  Also an effective shooter, Sullinger scores as a pick-and-pop threat, reflected in his 40%  three point shooting (16 of 40 this year).  From the free throw line he shot 77%, while attempting the 18th most freebies in the NCAA this season.  Combined with his size; solid effort & positioning make him excellent on the boards, where his offensive and defensive rebounding percentages ranked 2nd in the Big Ten.  The biggest question marks about his transition to the NBA are his conditioning & below-the-rim style.  He lost twenty pounds between his freshman and sophomore years, but still lacks the speed and explosiveness to score efficiently against long, athletic big men.    His physique also  raises defensive concerns; primarily an inability to operate as a major shot-blocking presence and as a liability obstructing quick NBA power forwards.

For a deeper look…onto some game recaps:

03/10 against Michigan - Against a young & undersized Wolverine squad, Sullinger dominated to the tune of 24 points on 72% true shooting.  He scored 8 of Ohio State’s first 10 points, as the Buckeyes cruised to a 77 – 55 victory.  Flashing lefty and righty hook shots, turnaround jumpers, up & unders; Michigan’s bigs could not contain him on the block.  He hit pick-and-pop and step-back jumpers, grabbed offensive rebounds…every offensive skill you would want to see from a big man was on display.  Defense was a mixed bag.  He botched a couple of pick-and-rolls and his focus appeared to wane at times; losing track of his man in transition or on the boards, and one time, fouling a three point shooter. Surprisingly quick feet and rotations gained him a drawn charge, and he frequently posed a nuisance at the basket, including blocking two shots.

03/11 against Michigan St - Sitting much of the first half due to foul trouble; Sullinger finished with 18 points and 9 rebounds as Ohio State lost the Big Ten championship game.  As part of a trend, Sullinger struggled against a long, athletic opposing big man, this time Spartan sophomore Adrien Payne.  Payne is 6’10” with a 7’ wingspan, was ranked 30th in their high school class, and lead the Big Ten in block percentage this year.  Sullinger’s 7 of 19 from the field largely resulted due to the menacing presence of Payne.  Despite the poor day shooting, the Buckeye big man showcased several post moves: left & right handed hook shots, once as a countermove, and also hitting a turnaround jumper.  The same defensive miscues of the prior day were present; butchered pick-and-rolls and occasional bouts of lost focus.  A personal irritation about Sullinger is that he complains too much about non-calls; he needs to get back on defense.

03/24 against Syracuse - Helping Ohio State reach their first Final Four in five years, he made his presence felt in 26 foul-trouble-reduced minutes (I thought a few whistles were questionable.  The refs called a tight game, with 67 combined free throws). Sullinger tallied 19 points and 7 rebounds on 66% true shooting. Powerful back-downs and drop steps, combined with convincing shot fakes, lead to twelve trips to the charity stripe.  On one deft isolation move, he pulled up for a 14-ft bank shot.  At least four times, he exhibited swift lateral movement, staying with a Syracuse guard on a switch and forcing a miss or a turnover.  Help from him at the rim was largely non-existent however, again a function of his generally floor-bound game.

Summary: Sullinger will be a solid pro, as he possesses offensive skill, defensive & rebounding fundamentals, and fine understanding of the game.  He’ll struggle against the NBA’s more athletic and defensive minded power forwards, but will not exist as option #1 for his team, which should help him.  If his opponent poses problems; he can focus on rebounding, maybe hit a few jumpers, and his team can run their offense through the surely better options they will have.  There will be “good” match-ups; for every Kevin Garnett, there is an Antawn Jamison or 6’-6” Carl Landry. When his weaknesses were exposed at Ohio State, it appeared to be a combination of two things: he played center and the offense relied heavily on him.  If matched up against 7-footer Jeff Withey, the Big Twelve defensive player of the year, as Sullinger was in the Final Four, Ohio State still needed him to shoot nineteen times.  In the NBA, that won’t happen, and Sullinger shouldn’t expect it to happen.

As a parting thought on J-Sull’s defense, according to Ken Pomeroy, Ohio State had the 2nd best schedule-adjusted defensive rating in the NCAA this year (they were top-20 without adjusting for schedule).  Certainly much credit goes to Thad Matta, but unless your starting center capably handles his responsibilities, clearly an elite defense can not be built. While obviously not a good bet to make all-defense teams, Sullinger’s smarts & strength make him a suitable team defender and a non-liability.  He needs to continue improving his jumper & conditioning, and refining his post repertoire.  Focus on the “dirty work” early in his career, quit complaining about perceived missed calls, and develop into an efficient 15 & 9 guy.  That is a totally attainable goal for 25-year-old Mr. Sullinger.

Cavaliers Win Coin Flip

Friday, April 27th, 2012

From Dan Gilbert:

Sent @cavsnick to NYC for coin flip. Cavs won the flip! What’s not to like?!!

What this means, from my understanding, is that the Cavs now have a 13.8% chance at Anthony Davis (as opposed to the Hornets, who have a 13.7% chance). And the lowest they can pick is sixth.

Update: The Cavs won the Lakers coin toss, too. They will pick in the top six and at 24.

Recap: Bulls 107, Cavs 13.5%

Friday, April 27th, 2012

The season is over. Welcome to the funhouse…

As good fortune would have it, the Bulls decided a definitive clinching of the playoffs No. 1 seed mattered to them enough to keep Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson in the last game of the season for extended stretches. That, and John Lucas takes this stuff seriously.

The Cavs entered the day in a very strange spot — a win would have stuck them in a three-way tie with New Jersey and (ultimately) Sacramento for fourth-worst record in the league, while a loss would have given (and ultimately gave) the Cavs the opportunity to share the third-worst record in the league with New Orleans.

It really, really behooved the Cavs to lose.

(It’s a crazy system, I know, but this is how it works.)

I wasn’t sure that the Bulls would bring it today sans Rose and Deng, but they did. Without Kyrie (still recovering from his incoming unibrow), the Cavs have no one to create offense against legitimate NBA defenses…and the Bulls would certainly qualify as that. The Cavs shot 32% from the field. Which was probably by design.

The Kings beat the Lakers (while the Hornets were one quarter away from beating the Rockets!) which increases the Cavs odds to 13.5% in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes. There’ll be much more to come in the next couple of weeks analyzing both this season and the future of the team, but let me kick off the discussion with the following…

I’m thrilled.

I know a lot of you were suffering a wee bit of frustration build-up as half the team was either shipped off or sat down in the latter part of the season…but indulging my occasionally optimistic perspective, I think we kind of got the best of both worlds this year.

Instead of facing the dreaded 5-year record amalgamation scenario for the draft lottery (floated by many during the lockout), the Cavs managed instead to find themselves with another shot at another centerpiece-type player. And they managed to do that in a season that gave us a peak at one of the more exciting point guard prospects in recent memory + a hyper-athletic forward for whom sentiment is still split but slowly improving.

As sucky seasons go, this one was kind of awesome. In fact, until the last month (during which there was no Kyrie)…I think I had as much fun watching rookie Kyrie as I did watching rookie LeBron.

And if we get lucky one more time this year… just one more time… well, than the Kyrie Irving era may have a real chance to exceed any that Cleveland has seen before.

Again, the Cavs have a 13.5% chance of picking first overall and can pick no later than seventh.

Pray for Anthony Davis.

Hope for MKG.

Make peace with Drummond if you have to.

I’ve never felt this good coming off a 32-point loss.

Sincerely,

The prodigal contributor,

Ryan M. Braun

Antawn Jamison Will Leave in the Offseason

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

From Jason Lloyd:

Antawn Jamison said goodbye to Cleveland tonight, making official what already seemed so obvious. Tonight was his last home game and Thursday’s game at Chicago will be his last game in a Cavaliers jersey.

Fare thee well, Antawn. You’ll be in heaven soon, playing for a contender with the angels.

Recap: Wizards 96, Cavs 85

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

“We’re only down four,” Byron Scott said in that angry sort of hushed tone where every syllable is overenunciated to the point that each word sounds like the blade of a shuriken. “That is unacceptable!”

He punched the whiteboard behind him in anger. Samardo Samuels let out a whimper.

“Dudes!” here, his voice sounded like Mel Gibson when Mel Gibson is irritated by literally anything. A fly buzzing around his kitchen, a stiff breeze, descendants of Abraham. Which is to say Byron Scott’s voice was loud and held the anger of a man unloved. “please lose this game because I really, really, really don’t want to have to coach Harrison Barnes next year. I would much prefer Brad Beal or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or—oh my goodness, do I dare to dream?—Anthony Davis. You see, no offense to Harrison Barnes. He’s a fine player and all, but what this team needs if we’re going to make a run at the playoffs next season is an elite talent that I just don’t think Barnes possesses. I think he’s maybe more of a third or fourth option…”

Tristan Thompson rolled his eyes and chuckled. Byron Scott was always talking about how much the team, as currently constituted, wasn’t very good and needed some additional top-flight talent if they wanted to make some noise moving forward. Tristan Thompson agreed with Byron Scott because Tristan Thompson had seen Tristan Thompson’s jump shot and that’s all Tristan Thompson needed to see to be concerned about Tristan Thompson’s development. But he was young, Tristan Thompson. He would have to be patient with himself.

“…and maybe a scorer like Doron Lamb with the Lakers pick? I think I could coach that guy up. Anyway—”

“Get out there and act like we’ve never played the game of basketball before?” Alonzo Gee inquired. He, too, dreamed of playing next to Brad Beal. Beal’s pure scoring ability would relieve him of his awkward position as the team’s third scoring option. With Beal providing an offensive spark in the backcourt next to Kyrie, Alonzo thought, I can focus on defending the perimeter and hitting open shots when Kyrie and Beal absorb multiple defenders. And I won’t have to create my own shot five times a game anymore. It’s not like I’m terrible at creating my own shot, but I’m not great at it. I’m probably better off as a catch-and-shoot guy who gets into the paint from time-to-time.

“Yeah. Get out there and lose like the shining stars you are!” Byron Scott roared. He then flipped on a boom box and the horn-laced triumph of Trick Daddy’s “Take It to the House” filled the locker room. The players stormed out toward the court. But, like, lethargically. They lethargically stormed. Picture, I dunno, an overeager pack of snails or something.

As he watched his pack of snails leave the locker room, a single tear rolled down Byron Scott’s cheek.

“Take it to the house, boys. Take it to the house.”

Kyrie Irving Doubtful with “Stomach Flu”

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

From Jason Lloyd:

Kyrie Irving did not participate in #Cavs shootaround this morning, listed as doubtful tonight vs. Wizards with stomach flu.

Further proof that Kyrie Irving is one of the best closers in the league, even as a rookie. He sees that top 3 lottery pick, and he’s going in for the kill.

Links to the Present: April 24, 2012

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

“[Byron] Scott said he hasn’t reached a decision on whether he wants injured center Semih Erden (ankle) to return for next season. Obviously, that’s something he must discuss with General Manager Chris Grant. The Cavs would have to extend a qualifying offer of about $1.1 million or risk losing the 7-foot Turk to unrestricted free agency.” [Tom Reed]

“The Cavaliers may very well shut down Kyrie Irving for the final two games of the season, which would in all likelihood shut down Cleveland’s opportunity to win. The Kings face the Thunder on Tuesday without DeMarcus Cousins, who hit the 13-tech threshold on Sunday. But OKC no longer has anything to play for and could rest its starters. The same may be the case for the Kings’ match-up against the Lakers on Thursday, depending on what the Clippers do by then. Chances are that the Cavs finish with a worse record than the Kings.” [Tom Ziller]

“The fourth quarter wizardry to which Cavalier fans have grown accustomed was put on hold as Cleveland head coach Byron Scott kept his prize possession on the sideline, watching as teammates Tristan Thompson and Antawn Jamison would retake the floor. Having been given some rest with three minutes left in the third quarter, Irving would not join his four starting teammates until there were just over four game minutes remaining.” [Scott Sargent]

I’m probably going to write about this later tonight in more detail, but I can say this: I’m so glad the Cavaliers swallowed their pride and sat Irving for most of the fourth quarter. As Ziller points out, there’s a bunch of teams hovering around 21 wins, and the Cavs need to lose out if they’re going to have a shot at top 4 lottery odds. If they win another game, they could be looking at 6th or 7th, and, if the ping-pong balls adhere to probability (which: no guarantee), they’re in line to pick someone like Harrison Barnes or PJ3. Depending on how you feel about those guys, you might not mind picking at seven, but I’m terrified that Harrison Barnes is a slightly better Wesley Johnson, and Perry Jones could be an All-Star or out of the league in five years.

But that’s my acute sense of dread talking. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments.

Recap: Cavs 101, Memphis 109

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

It's so nice to know Kyrie is destroying NBA defenses again, that I won't even use a picture of a tank (Photo by Joe Murphy / NBAE via Getty Images)

I have a confession to make.  I wasn’t able to watch last night’s game, because my cable package doesn’t include the NBA network, and LeaguePass blocks out games on their TV station.  I realized that last night, but was already on the schedule…I apologize profusely.  If Colin hasn’t already returned your subscription fee, let me know, and we’ll get it taken care of.  In an effort of appeasement, despite not being able to tune in, I offer 1000 words on the team & game.

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The Cavs played really competitively last night, on the road, against a playoff team, on the second night of a back-to-back.  Irving scored 25, Jamison netted an efficient 17, and TT ended one rebound short of a double-double (with four blocks).  Cleveland may have been trying to lose at the end however.  They lead 78 – 77 heading to the fourth.  Then Tristan sat for the first six minutes of the quarter, Jamison the first seven, and Kyrie didn’t check in until four minutes left to go.  By that time, the Wine & Gold were down five and did not recover, largely due to missing five of six free throws down the stretch.  I assume many fans are OK with that outcome; at least the team fought hard.

Instead of a highly informative recap of yesterday’s action, I offer a random factoid on each Cav player, in the form of a question, along with a brief synopsis of their performance last night.  Let’s get into those.

Did you know that in four times as many minutes, Anthony Parker has taken fewer shots at the rim this year than Lester Hudson?

Last night, AP didn’t shoot inside of 18 feet and finished with 5 points, 3 boards and 3 assists.  I had never completely hopped on the Hudsanity bandwagon, but Lester did score 9 points in 12 minutes for the Grizzlies.

Did you know that Alonzo Gee is second on the Cavs in minutes with nearly 1800, which is 600 more than he played in his previous NBA season?  Also, his usage rate is 4% higher than last year?

It appears that Mr. Gee hit a wall a few weeks ago.  He’s shooting 36% in April and only 20% from long range.  Don’t worry, Alonzo; next year, you shouldn’t need to be a focal point of the offense, and there won’t be five games a week.  Last night, AG continued his late-season tail spin, with 8 points, 2 boards, 2 assists and 3 turnovers.

Did you know that Kyrie Irving is freaking ridiculous?

That’s a fact…I’ve researched it.  Cleveland’s offensive rating is 106.03 when he’s on the court, but only 96.33 otherwise.  Kyrie scored 25 last night in 29 minutes on 69% True Shooting, as he continues his “remember me when you cast your ROY ballots!” tour.

Did you know that players guarded by Antawn Jamison average a 19.2 PER?

Jamison finished with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 0 turnovers last night, pacing the Cavs in plus / minus with a plus-6.  It’s been a complicated relationship that Cavs fans had with Antawn for 2.5 years.  Wednesday night could be his last time donning a Cleveland jersey, so make sure to fill up the Q for a going-away party.  Oh, and Marreese Speights, the Grizzlies starting power forward, ended up with 17 points on 9  shots.  Keep being you, Antawn!

Did you know that Tristan Thompson ranks top ten in the NBA for offensive rebound rate?  Also, he’s shooting 65% on free throws in April?

You probably knew these things, but I wanted to call attention to some positive numbers for TT.  I’m upset about not seeing Tristan last night, as he had an action packed game; shooting ten free throws, blocking 4 shots and grabbing 4 offensive rebounds.  He did foul out, however, and only shot 3 of 10.  He was the only starter with a negative plus/minus.

Did you know that entering last night, Manny Harris possessed the 3rd highest defensive rebounding rate of all NBA shooting guards?

Statistically, it was another solid game for Manny; 11 points (61% TS), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and only 1 turnover.  What’s it mean?  I don’t even know anymore.  Sign him to be the 12th man next year.

Did you know that Samardo Samuels has the second highest adjusted plus/minus on the Cavs?

Is 5 years, $50 million too much for Samardo?  Adjusted plus-minus is a pretty “noisy” stat, so take this number with a grain of salt.  Maybe Samuels was better this year than Varejao and Irving though…

He finished with 6 points, 1 rebound and 2 assists in 18 minutes last night.  Cleveland was minus-4.

Did you know that Donald Sloan connected on less than 9% of his three pointers this year?

He can’t possibly be that bad.  If he knocked down 32%, would we see him as a piece for the future?  Ummm, no, but let’s invite him to Summer League.  Last night, he contributed 9 points on 6 shots with 2 assists in 19 minutes (0 for 1 on threes).

Did you know that there is nothing interesting to say about Omri Casspi’s performance this year?

That may be a lie, but I’m running out of steam here.  There is also nothing interesting about his box score line from last night.

Did you know that Luke Walton is the son of 2-time NBA champion Bill Walton?

Seriously, it’s true.  Look it up.  Of course, Luke is also a two time NBA champ.  The way some count legacies; that probably makes them equals.  The younger Walton’s quest to pass dad will need to wait until next year; last night, his minus-16 served as worst differential of the game.

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Well, two games to go.  A home tilt against the Wizards and the season-ending road finale against Chicago.  Washington has nothing left to tank for, as they’re pretty well locked into the league’s second worst record.  Chicago should still be playing to win in order to lock up home-court through the NBA finals.  In the “race” for ping-pong balls, Cleveland can still finish as “high” as 3rd and as “low” as tied for seventh.   With two games to go, and those stakes…we’ll see what happens.

Draft Profile: Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

This draft profile should be short.  It won’t be though, because I’m bad at brevity.  If the Cavs pick first, they select Anthony Davis.  Hopefully Cleveland doesn’t pick low enough to overly think about Terrence Jones, who is typically slotted 8th to 12th on draft boards.

Anthony Davis lives in Thomas Robinson's nightmares (Jeff Gross - Getty Images)

During his freshman year, Davis played the best season of NCAA basketball since at least Kevin Durant.  As the NCAA tournament’s Most Outstanding Player for the 2012 Champions, following a season when he won every conceivable award, there is no debate over who the first pick in the NBA draft will be.  His accomplishments include:

  • Greatest freshman shot blocker in recent NCAA history at nearly five per game.
  • Thanks to 62% field goal shooting, 71% free throw shooting, and a ridiculously low turnover rate; his offensive rating of 133.6 points per 100 used possessions ranked fourth in the NCAA.
  • Grabbing 24% of available defensive rebounds ranked first in the SEC.

He’s 6’10” with a 7’4” wingspan, athletic and constantly working.  Having just turned 19 in March, even with a limited offensive arsenal, he is an absolute game changer.

Terrence Jones finished his sophomore year averaging 12 points and 7 rebounds per game on 55% true shooting.  He looks like an NBA player: 6’9” tall, 7’2” wingspan, 250 lbs, athletic & strong.  Best utilized as a face-up power forward, he skillfully puts the ball on the floor with his dominant left hand and attacks the paint.  He harnesses his athleticism on defense as an effective weak side shot blocker, rejecting almost two per game.  His biggest downfall is a propensity to disappear, as his effort can wane and maturity questions follow him.  An example of his inconsistency displayed itself during my look at MKG earlier this season; against Indiana in December, Jones finished with 4 points and 1 rebound while being repeatedly benched by John Calipari.  For a very big guy, he can overly rely on a “finesse” game.  His rebounding is average; for pace adjusted, per minute defensive rebounding, he ranks 72nd of 118 PF’s in draftexpress.com’s database.  Finally, he lacks refined back-to-the -basket moves and a reliable jumper (32% from three, 63% on free throws).

Terrence Jones finishes emphatically in UK's NCAA Finals victory (Jeff Gross - Getty Images)

For a deeper look, here are some game notes:

March 4th UK vs Florida – Davis finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 6 blocks in this 74 – 59 Wildcat victory.  Yawn…

He completely controlled the paint and dominated the game.  Everyone understands that, so I’ll nit-pick.  His jump shot still warrants practice, as he was 1 of 4 on long twos and threes.  For the season, he shot 3 of 20 from outside the arc.  Also, he’ll benefit from trips to the weight room, as Patric Young moved him around pretty easily on a couple of possessions.

Jones scored UK’s first eight points of the game; three times facing up and driving, the other time corralling a putback.  He ended with 19 points on 71% true shooting, with three blocks & two steals, but only four rebounds.  Generating most of his offense off face-up drives, cuts & offensive rebounds; he was 1 of 2 both with his back to the basket and as a jump shooter.  None of his forays to the basket featured his weaker right hand.  Defensively, he blocked shots as a help defender, and also fought through two screens to reject a jump shot.  There were several poor defensive possessions too, though.  Lackadaisically jogging up court, Patric Young zipped by him in transition for an easy dunk.  Standing erect and not boxing out when a UF shot went up resulted in another easy Gator putback.

Finally, this applies to both players, but I don’t like how UK defends the pick-and-roll; their big men stay far from the pick, frequently resulting in both the ball-handler and roll man charging forward with a head of steam.  This was a fairly regular occurrence in both games.

NCAA Championship Game – UK vs Kansas - Davis netted 16 rebounds, 5 assists, 6 blocks and 3 steals as Kentucky cut down the nets in New Orleans.  Take those numbers in for a minute…

His activity level is great; when an opponent shot went up, he sealed his man off, grabbing rebounds at the top of his jump.  Fighting for position and keeping his arms vertical caused many tough looks for the Jayhawk bigs.  He stole a KU alley-oop and batted away an entry pass, forcing a steal.  As a shot blocker, he is a constant presence, lurking as KU players worked from the post or drove from the perimeter.  Thanks to his long arms and non-stop effort, he had a pivotal non-block, closing at the three point line near the end of regulation and forcing a travel.  Clearly thoughts of Davis worked through Thomas Robinson’s head, as he tossed up some very hasty shots.  Early this season, David Thorpe described Davis as (paraphrased) “a more athletic Marcus Camby with closer to Joakim Noah’s motor”.  Davis is bouncy, long, has great timing, moves well…NBA DPOY awards could loom in his future.  On the downside, he only shot 1 of 10 this game, including a sloppy isolation possession and an awkward post move.  I think people got over that.

Jones scored 9 points on 57% true shooting with 7 rebounds in 29 minutes.  His two blocks included a spectacular chase down, and he made a pivotal play with one minute to go; collecting an errant UK pass just before it went out of bounds, dribbling into the paint from thirty feet, and finding Anthony Davis at the basket.  From there; Kentucky only had to make their freebies to finish the game out.  The biggest downside to Jones’ performance was that Thomas Robinson played remarkably more physically, constantly establishing very deep post position and getting close range shots off.  Jones will need to play tougher, as Anthony Davis won’t have his back in the NBA.

Summary: Davis dominated the NCAA in a rarely exhibited way.  The scary thing is, he can get a lot better.  His shooting range is still unreliable, his back-to-the-basket game is raw, he’s too skinny…if he never improves on any of this; he’ll still be a low-usage, high-efficiency center that dominates one end of the court.   With strides in his offensive game and a little more muscle on his frame; could he win an MVP?

ESPN often compares Terrence Jones to Lamar Odom, describing how valuable he can be when engaged, but “let him roam and he can disappear”.  This is an apt comparison, as my initial take on a career arc for Jones looks similar to Odom.  Jones seems like a player that will bounce around as a good player on forgettable NBA teams.  Then after several years, older and wiser, he will pop up as the fourth best player on an NBA champion.  Finally, for an encore, maybe he’ll marry one of the younger “Kardashians”.

Clearly, I hope that Anthony Davis dons a wine-and-gold hat on June 28th.  When I sleep at night, Sportscenter quality alley-oops from Irving to “the Brow” dance through my head.

Recap: D Leaguers/Geriatrics: 98, The Greatest Team EVER (according to the Spurs announcers): 114

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

This was a pretty close one (albeit pretty boring with a lot of terrible shots).  It was basically exactly as you’d expect: Jamison shot a lot, Kyrie played well, blah blah blah.  I will say this: I’ve seen a lot of regression (and very little forward progress) from most of our young keepers.  That’s a pretty worrisome sign.

The Good:

Jamison – Scored 21 (on 8-20, but whatever).  An audition for next season?

Kyrie’s 3rd Quarter (on offense) – ‘Rie started pretty slow, but picked it up in the 3rd and brought the game pretty.  Also, a quick note – Kyrie’s athleticism was on full display in this game.  He had a monster block in the first quarter that was negated by a Manny flagrant foul and even dunked the ball.  Awesome.

Manny Harris – Oh Manny, if only you could play like this every day.  5-10 shooting and was actually +4 for the game (he and TT were the only ones with a positive +/-).  He even played some decent D.

Danny Green – He was +16, shot 5-8 (3-5 from downtown) and played great D.  WHY THE  ^%#$ DID WE LET HIM GO?!?!?  I realize Grant got us Kyrie, but the Green move has to be one of the more boneheaded ones in recent memory.  Let a talented guy go for no reason when you have so little talent on your team.  Yeah.  Great idea….

Casspi’s D – I actually liked what I saw from him on D for a lot of the game – he was rotating off his guys nicely and played pretty tough and close.  Maybe we’re finally going to get something out of him?

The Bad:

Our 4th Q Lineup – At one point in the fourth, when the game was within 7, the Cavs had a lineup of Walton, Samuels, Gee, Sloan, and Casspi on the floor.  I’m assuming I don’t have to say how that worked out…

Gee – His play has really fallen off of recent.  He was 3-7, played average D, and was MINUS 23 for the game.  I realize this is one of the best offenses in the NBA, but isn’t this guy supposed to be our defensive stopper?

TT – He still can’t finish (other than one monster dunk) and had an especially difficult time with Dejuan Blair.  How such a big (in terms of body mass) guy can’t just slam it home every time is beyond me.  He was getting pushed around by guys substantially weaker than he is.

The Spurs announcers – These guys are such absurd homers it’s disgusting.  I actually muted the game pretty early because I could tell they just wanted to gush about their team – that’s fine, but doing it at the expense of a very bad one (“The spurs really haven’t had a challenging games in weeks, which is something they badly need and likely wont get tonight” is an approximation of something I heard very early in the broadcast) is pretty low.

San Antonio Advertising – One ad had a local injury lawyer reciting the NBA recording laws.  Really FS Southwest?  There was another laughably bad one about cars or something, but I forgot to write down what it was.

The Rest:

Adding insult to injury, the Austin D league team killed the Canton D League team in the playoffs today (90 to 68) to advance in the playoffs.  Screw you Texas!

Did I mention that TP and Manu only played for a combined 43 minutes?  And Duncan sat the entire game???  Yeah, we’re not very good…

Seriously, the Spurs announcers have to be the most annoyingly cocky announcers in the NBA.  I turned the sound back onduring the game just in time to hear them say, verbatum, this quote, as the Spurs took a 20 point league late in the 4th quarter after keeping it close most of the game: “Oh, I wanted to say earlier, it was only a matter of time, you just knew..It’s just an onslaught.” ARGHHHHHH

Well, three games away from what is likely the most important offseason for this iteration of the Cavs team.  Tomorrow the Cavs face the playoff bound Grizzles.  This is my recap of the season, so I just wanted to say it’s been a blast.  Keep on the lookout for a whole bunch of podcasts in the upcoming weeks and months.  Until then my friends…